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November Chief's Perspective

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Alfred Farrar, II from the 169th Maintenance Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, October 6, 2019.

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Alfred Farrar, II from the 169th Maintenance Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, October 6, 2019. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder, 169th Fighter Wing/Public Affairs)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

This past summer we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon flight. What an incredible accomplishment. In less than eight years, the United States went from a simple 15-minute suborbital flight to the incredibly complicated feat of landing astronauts on the moon and returning them safely to the earth. This was a complicated time in our nation’s history triumphed by determination and hard work. It also sets a good example of goal setting and the results that can be gained from determination and hard work.

I enjoy watching and reading interviews with all the figures in the space exploration field. One common trait of them, and all successful people for that matter, is that of “hard work.” All the successful individuals (astronauts, engineers, designers, technicians, etc…) speak of hard work, determination and perseverance to achieve their dreams and ambitions. They knew what they wanted, had a plan to make it happen and took steps to accomplish the impossible. Astronauts of today say the same thing. In an interview, I was watching recently, a kid asked one astronaut if he had other jobs prior to becoming an astronaut. He said “yes I did and those played a significant roll and laid the foundation for becoming an astronaut. They were stepping stones to achieving my ultimate goal.” 

As young Airmen we often don’t see the “big picture.” We enlist in the military and we start our career by just wanting to get through basic training, learn our AFSC and settle into doing our job and learning our responsibilities. Our motivation may be different, a nice little drill check, tuition assistance for school or maybe it’s just being part of something bigger than ourselves. As time goes by and we progress in rank and skill level, we start to see things from a different perspective. We start to realize how this big thing called the Air Force works. We start gaining experience and start to earn additional responsibilities. We are exposed to different experiences, which broaden and sharpen our skills. Our peripheral vision, as it may be, increases with each additional responsibility. We begin to see things through a different set of lenses verses when we were young and green.

My advice is don’t just go through your Air Force career being satisfied with doing the bare minimum.  Don’t run from responsibility but run to it. Be the one who steps up and says, “Give that to me. I’ll take care of it.” Look at your goals and aspirations and do the hard work that it takes to achieve them. Decide what you want.  Dreaming may be a good start, but you have to make a plan and then execute the plan. Without taking these steps, you cannot reap the rewards of success you are trying to achieve.

I often look at a quote by Gene Cernan, the commander of Apollo 17 and the last man to set foot on the moon. He said, “Don’t ever count yourself out. You’ll never know how good you are unless you try.  Dream the impossible and go out and make it happen. I walked on the moon. What can’t you do?”